Home » EPL, Featured, Latest » Match Report: Sunderland 1 Liverpool 3

Returning to Premier League action for the first time since biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic on April 21, Luis Suarez made light of a dead leg and some boos from the Sunderland fans to mark the occasion with two goals and a T-shirt tribute to his new son.

Liverpool fans responded loudly, chanting Suarez’s name at the final whistle, as the Stadium of Light DJ played “I can’t help falling in love with you”.

After a potential split in the summer, Liverpool’s passion for Suarez was demonstrated here and he responded with whole-hearted performance.

His second goal, Liverpool’s third, was particularly significant as it took the visitors above Tottenham Hotspur into second place in this open-looking Premier League.

The only negative from the afternoon was Lucas’ fifth booking of the season which brings a one-match ban, but Liverpool left Wearside in bouyant mood.

Suarez is back and they look an even more threatening team with him in the fold. He had played on Wednesday against Manchester United in the Capital One Cup, showing that his fitness was good and he continued his constant running here.

He started with a neat turn and then a good pass to Daniel Sturridge, giving another reminder of their burgeoning understanding. Sturridge also scored and pushed Suarez for man of the match honours.

As at Old Trafford, Victor Moses was again in the hole behind Sturridge and Suarez. Brendan Rodgers continued with three centre-halves, Kolo Toure, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho, and the system largely worked well.

There was occasional uncertainty out wide. Sunderland immediately targeted the space behind the wing-backs Jose Enrique and Jordan Henderson but it was Liverpool who were the more clinical.

Liverpool thought they had scored early on after Lee Cattermole fouled Sturridge. Suarez looked to be lining up the free-kick but Steven Gerrard took it, curling the ball over the wall and forcing a low save from Keiren Westwood. Skrtel turned in the loose ball but the assistant referee, Darren Cann, signalled offside.

Suarez was quietly influential, and also on his best behaviour, staying on his feet when challenged by John O’Shea in the area. Suarez then sustained his dead leg, slipping and being caught by Craig Gardner.

The Uruguayan hobbled around for a bit, rubbing his thigh, before regaining full movement.

Sunderland looked bright for a period in the first half, pressing well, and moving the ball quickly into the final third. Ki Sung-yueng shot wide. Gardner spirited the ball past Gerrard.

Then Seb Larsson curled a free-kick on to Simon Mignolet’s bar. Liverpool stayed calm and began counter-attacking at pace, forcing a corner after 28 minutes. Gerrard lifted the ball towards the near-post where Kolo Toure flicked on towards the unmarked Sturridge.

The England striker went for the ball with his head but it went in off his bicep.

Sunderland complained but Howard Webb indicated a goal. Cann, one of Webb’s assistants from the 2010 World Cup final, had the sun in his eyes and did not indicate any offence.

“First goal maybe handball but even still it would only even out the beach ball incident,’’ tweeted Liverpool’s injured full-back, Glen Johnson, referring to Darren Bent’s bizarrely deflected goal here in 2009.

Sunderland’s frustrated fans then appealed loudly for a free-kick when Mignolet, not at his most convincing on his return to the Stadium of Light, picked up Toure’s pass but Webb waved play on. Sunderland fans’ mood darkened further

after 36 minutes. Gerrard created the goal with one of his trademark raking passes, angled right to Sturridge.

The Premier League Player of the Month for August comfortably beat Carlos Cueller for speed before flicking the ball across for Suarez, who was pointing exactly where he wanted it.

Sturridge delivered and Suarez pounced. Sunderland’s defenders were again missing. Suarez celebrated by lifting his top to reveal a T-shirt with a picture of his wife Sofia, daughter Delfina and new-boy son Benjamin. “Welcome Benja” read the message. “Los amo!!!” (“I love them’’)

Sunderland actually finished the half strongly, Gardner and Johnson going close but it was in the second half, following Ball’s talk, that they looked far more of a cohesive force until Suarez applied the coup de grace late on.

Within seven minutes Sunderland had halved the deficit. Ki shot from 25 yards, the ball suddenly appearing past Skrtel and forcing Mignolet into a hurried save. He pushed the ball straight out and Giaccherini reacted quickest, slamming the ball in.

Belief spread across the home terraces. Gardner had a shot saved. Colback and Cattermole snapped into tackles. This was the sort of committed performance demanded by Ball and the Sunderland fans.

Yet Sunderland always had to beware the combination of Suarez and Sturridge, who are building up a formidable understanding. Suarez, echoing his first-half rectitude, again stayed on his feet in the box when challenged strongly by Larsson.

Moses was also concerning Sunderland with his movement and one powerful shot that was tipped over by Westwood. The managers began to freshen up their sides.

Cattermole departed to a standing ovation from Sunderland fans as Ondrej Celustka ran on. Raheem Sterling sprinted on for Moses with Henderson looking more comfortable moving into a central position. Colback was immediately cautioned for tripping Sterling.

The Sturridge-Suarez double act hadn’t finished. From Mignolet’s throw, Suarez accelerated upfield before finding Sturridge. The compliment was returned by Sturridge who crossed for Suarez to crown his Premier League comeback.

As Liverpool fans celebrated, their Sunderland counterparts had only the consolation of an improved performance, of the memory of Cattermole’s contribution, but they need a finisher.

Source: Telegraph

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